New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet announced the much-anticipated staff changes at the newspaper in a memo to staffers on Wednesday.
Baquet eliminated the position of managing editor and promoted senior editors Matt Purdy, Susan Chira, Ian Fisher and Janet Elder to jointly take on the role of deputy executive editor, a move that completely remodeled the Times' traditional masthead structure. Each editor will oversee a different and specific area of coverage. Tom Bodkin, who was previously the design director and a deputy managing editor, will now assume the position of creative director -- a role Baquet said is on the same level as the deputy executive editor positions.
In the memo, Baquet suggested that the changes are not yet complete, and cautioned the newsroom not to see the shakeups so much as a matter of moving "up" and "down." Baquet added that staffers should expect to see changes in digital operations very soon.
“I anticipate people moving on and off the masthead as our needs evolve,” he wrote. “It is important that these moves not be seen as measures of who is up and who is down, but rather as appointments aimed at keeping our journalism and our entire operation as vibrant as possible.”
Capital New York's Joe Pompeo reported last week that changes to the Times' masthead were "imminent," anticipating the movement of the four senior editors to report as Baquet's new deputies. The question of who Baquet would promote, and how he would organize those positions, has been in question since he took over for former editor Jill Abramson in May. Baquet formerly worked as Abramson's deputy, before the paper's publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr chose Baquet to replace her in a very public and controversial ousting.
Wednesday's masthead changes are the biggest since Baquet took the reins, but there have been several other moves internally in recent months. Baquet announced the addition of several deputy-level editors in the newsroom in July.
Read the full memo at Next Level News.